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Matt Braun

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  1. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from USAFChief in Twins 4, Angels 0: Tyler Mahle Suffocates L.A's Bats   
    I nearly dumbfounded at the support for my pretentious baseball ramblings. I'll do as many as I can!
  2. Like
    Matt Braun reacted to DocBauer in Twins 4, Angels 0: Tyler Mahle Suffocates L.A's Bats   
    Not directed to anyone in particular, just in general.
    Mahle looked great! Ran in to some trouble in the 6th and got out of it. Great start! So many complaints about 4-5 IP...mostly about only 4 which I totally get...and we can't be happy with an outstanding 6 inning performance? 
    There are but a handful of pitchers in ALL of MLB that consistently toss 7 full innings in a game, much less average that per. Like it or not, the game has changed. For decades RP were like fill-in guys and long guys. Then RP became LOOGY'S and set-up men and closers. And then the entire "closer" mentality changed to having FIREMEN for high leverage because a 3 run lead save against the bottom of a lineup didn't mean as much as first perceived. 
    Forget the steroid era for a moment, though it had a pronounced affect on pitching changes. Today's ML position athlete trains and lifts weight and works on hitting year round. There is technology assisting batting stance and swing and upper cuts and exit velocity, etc, etc. Pitchers throw harder than ever, but the game has changed. Option and basic power I football has changed in college, and we're decades beyond 3 yards and a cloud of dust in the NFL. I do believe, 100%, that there is room in baseball to "retro fit" the game somewhat to integrate speed again, and to greater value the high BA/OB player. 
    But the game has changed. 5-6 quality IP is the norm now, not just the Twins. Little birdie of Rocco to a Gleeman comment offered recently was something to the fact that with "crunch time" coming that monitoring innings to this point may allow more free reign going forward. We'll see. The starters still need to produce. But I'd take a solid 6 IP most any day. The occasional 7 only helps mitigate the 5 IP starts, and helps the pen. Interesting that Baldelli has commented just recently about the need for a "length" arm or two in the pen. IMO, he's not talking 3-4, but rather, a good TWO innings arm or 2. 
    Fulmer and Lopez add and deepen the pen. But the issue is the middle 3 spots, not Mahle, Gray, and Ryan throwing 6, with the hopeful occasional 7. And believe it or not, Bundy has lead the team in IP most of the year thus far. Hopefully, it's time now for Archer to start delivering 5 IP each time with health, experience, and savy. But it comes down, a lot IMO, to those last 3 spots in the pen. I DON'T like sticking with Pagan as a 2 IP option because we just know how that turns out. I don't know that Sands is ready. I think Moran is needed. Injuries are really cramping options right now, and that imits and stinks. We don't need stud 6-7-8 arms, though that would be nice and the objective. But with injuries factored in, the question/problem is what is the best 1-2-3 the Twins can find over the next month and a half to fill the 6-7-8 spots in the pen?
  3. Like
    Matt Braun reacted to USAFChief in Twins 4, Angels 0: Tyler Mahle Suffocates L.A's Bats   
    Concur. This is precisely why at it's best, TD kicks the regular media's butt. Hard. 
    Can you do all the game recaps, Matt? 

  4. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from h2oface in Twins 4, Angels 0: Tyler Mahle Suffocates L.A's Bats   
    Well, that was pleasant. 
     
    Box Score
    Tyler Mahle: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
    Home Runs: Gilberto Celestino (1), Gio Urshela (11)
    Top 3 WPA: Tyler Mahle (.332), Gilberto Celestino (.196), Gio Urshela (.096)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    When the Twins acquired Tyler Mahle at the deadline, they likely envisioned him in a situation like this: working as the stopper in a crucial game down the stretch. He did not disappoint. The freshly-minted Twin commanded the ball with precision, striking out six batters over six shutout innings, with a handful of baserunners scattered around. Unlike his outing against Toronto, when the Blue Jays jumped on him late, Mahle fought back against the third-time-through-the-order frenzy and walked off the mound with a spotless ERA. Sure, maybe throwing six scoreless innings against an Angels lineup missing the golden boy isn’t as impressive as when John F. Kennedy negotiated the Russians out of world destruction, but it does have to count for something. 
    There are few guarantees in baseball; the sport thrives on chaotic, slimly un-random outcomes that provide the game intrigue—in what other sporting event can Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit three homers in a game? But there are some laws. Patrick Sandoval does not give up homers, and Gilberto Celestino does not hit them. Sandoval—the one of the lesser panda variety—had allowed just four balls to leave the park in 95 innings this season. Celestino—rumored to be incapable of pulling the ball with any authority—has yet to hit one this season. The outfielder owns two career homers—this author observed one in person—but power is not his forte. It is an impossibility that Celestino could hit a home run off Sandoval.
    Anyways, the scoring started when Celestino hit a homer off Sandoval.
    The game trudged on; the Twins occasionally threatened to score more, placing runners in ideal positions before failing to knock them in. A guy would walk; another one would leave him stranded on the bases, and the cycle repeated with dull consistency as the offense sputtered and whined. Sandy León found an occupied glove when steaming home. Gio Urshela broke through the stalemate with a solo homer in the 6th inning. 
    Urshela’s bat proved to be sorely needed, as his hits directly led to three of the Twins’ runs on Friday. It wasn’t the only active run engine, however; Jose Miranda doubled to right-center field in the 8th inning and trotted home after Luis Arraez poked a single beyond Jared Walsh’s grasp. 
    The new Twins bullpen triumvirate demonstrated their power; Michael Fulmer pitched a clean, scoreless 7th inning, carrying the shutout for at least one more frame. Jhoan Duran—still as hilariously dominant as always—melted a few faces for a clean 8th inning, setting the stage for the grand finale: Jorge López. López allowed a hit but found the time to catch Jo Adell window-shopping; Walsh grounded out to end the game.
     
    What’s Next?
    The Twins will play the Angels in another late-night matchup; Dylan Bundy will face off against Reid Detmers.
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet


    View full article
  5. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from IndianaTwin in Twins 4, Angels 0: Tyler Mahle Suffocates L.A's Bats   
    Well, that was pleasant. 
     
    Box Score
    Tyler Mahle: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
    Home Runs: Gilberto Celestino (1), Gio Urshela (11)
    Top 3 WPA: Tyler Mahle (.332), Gilberto Celestino (.196), Gio Urshela (.096)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    When the Twins acquired Tyler Mahle at the deadline, they likely envisioned him in a situation like this: working as the stopper in a crucial game down the stretch. He did not disappoint. The freshly-minted Twin commanded the ball with precision, striking out six batters over six shutout innings, with a handful of baserunners scattered around. Unlike his outing against Toronto, when the Blue Jays jumped on him late, Mahle fought back against the third-time-through-the-order frenzy and walked off the mound with a spotless ERA. Sure, maybe throwing six scoreless innings against an Angels lineup missing the golden boy isn’t as impressive as when John F. Kennedy negotiated the Russians out of world destruction, but it does have to count for something. 
    There are few guarantees in baseball; the sport thrives on chaotic, slimly un-random outcomes that provide the game intrigue—in what other sporting event can Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit three homers in a game? But there are some laws. Patrick Sandoval does not give up homers, and Gilberto Celestino does not hit them. Sandoval—the one of the lesser panda variety—had allowed just four balls to leave the park in 95 innings this season. Celestino—rumored to be incapable of pulling the ball with any authority—has yet to hit one this season. The outfielder owns two career homers—this author observed one in person—but power is not his forte. It is an impossibility that Celestino could hit a home run off Sandoval.
    Anyways, the scoring started when Celestino hit a homer off Sandoval.
    The game trudged on; the Twins occasionally threatened to score more, placing runners in ideal positions before failing to knock them in. A guy would walk; another one would leave him stranded on the bases, and the cycle repeated with dull consistency as the offense sputtered and whined. Sandy León found an occupied glove when steaming home. Gio Urshela broke through the stalemate with a solo homer in the 6th inning. 
    Urshela’s bat proved to be sorely needed, as his hits directly led to three of the Twins’ runs on Friday. It wasn’t the only active run engine, however; Jose Miranda doubled to right-center field in the 8th inning and trotted home after Luis Arraez poked a single beyond Jared Walsh’s grasp. 
    The new Twins bullpen triumvirate demonstrated their power; Michael Fulmer pitched a clean, scoreless 7th inning, carrying the shutout for at least one more frame. Jhoan Duran—still as hilariously dominant as always—melted a few faces for a clean 8th inning, setting the stage for the grand finale: Jorge López. López allowed a hit but found the time to catch Jo Adell window-shopping; Walsh grounded out to end the game.
     
    What’s Next?
    The Twins will play the Angels in another late-night matchup; Dylan Bundy will face off against Reid Detmers.
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet


    View full article
  6. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Hosken Bombo Disco in Twins 4, Angels 0: Tyler Mahle Suffocates L.A's Bats   
    Well, that was pleasant. 
     
    Box Score
    Tyler Mahle: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
    Home Runs: Gilberto Celestino (1), Gio Urshela (11)
    Top 3 WPA: Tyler Mahle (.332), Gilberto Celestino (.196), Gio Urshela (.096)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    When the Twins acquired Tyler Mahle at the deadline, they likely envisioned him in a situation like this: working as the stopper in a crucial game down the stretch. He did not disappoint. The freshly-minted Twin commanded the ball with precision, striking out six batters over six shutout innings, with a handful of baserunners scattered around. Unlike his outing against Toronto, when the Blue Jays jumped on him late, Mahle fought back against the third-time-through-the-order frenzy and walked off the mound with a spotless ERA. Sure, maybe throwing six scoreless innings against an Angels lineup missing the golden boy isn’t as impressive as when John F. Kennedy negotiated the Russians out of world destruction, but it does have to count for something. 
    There are few guarantees in baseball; the sport thrives on chaotic, slimly un-random outcomes that provide the game intrigue—in what other sporting event can Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit three homers in a game? But there are some laws. Patrick Sandoval does not give up homers, and Gilberto Celestino does not hit them. Sandoval—the one of the lesser panda variety—had allowed just four balls to leave the park in 95 innings this season. Celestino—rumored to be incapable of pulling the ball with any authority—has yet to hit one this season. The outfielder owns two career homers—this author observed one in person—but power is not his forte. It is an impossibility that Celestino could hit a home run off Sandoval.
    Anyways, the scoring started when Celestino hit a homer off Sandoval.
    The game trudged on; the Twins occasionally threatened to score more, placing runners in ideal positions before failing to knock them in. A guy would walk; another one would leave him stranded on the bases, and the cycle repeated with dull consistency as the offense sputtered and whined. Sandy León found an occupied glove when steaming home. Gio Urshela broke through the stalemate with a solo homer in the 6th inning. 
    Urshela’s bat proved to be sorely needed, as his hits directly led to three of the Twins’ runs on Friday. It wasn’t the only active run engine, however; Jose Miranda doubled to right-center field in the 8th inning and trotted home after Luis Arraez poked a single beyond Jared Walsh’s grasp. 
    The new Twins bullpen triumvirate demonstrated their power; Michael Fulmer pitched a clean, scoreless 7th inning, carrying the shutout for at least one more frame. Jhoan Duran—still as hilariously dominant as always—melted a few faces for a clean 8th inning, setting the stage for the grand finale: Jorge López. López allowed a hit but found the time to catch Jo Adell window-shopping; Walsh grounded out to end the game.
     
    What’s Next?
    The Twins will play the Angels in another late-night matchup; Dylan Bundy will face off against Reid Detmers.
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet


    View full article
  7. Like
    Matt Braun reacted to USAFChief in Twins 4, Angels 0: Tyler Mahle Suffocates L.A's Bats   
    I thought 6 complete was enough for Mahle.
    Actually, if I were managing, I might have thought 5 and 2/3rds was enough and not let him face the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the 6th.
    And by the way, nice job Mahle. 
     
  8. Like
    Matt Braun reacted to verninski in Twins 4, Angels 0: Tyler Mahle Suffocates L.A's Bats   
    Much like the game, very well done with the write up! 
  9. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from USAFChief in Twins 4, Angels 0: Tyler Mahle Suffocates L.A's Bats   
    Well, that was pleasant. 
     
    Box Score
    Tyler Mahle: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
    Home Runs: Gilberto Celestino (1), Gio Urshela (11)
    Top 3 WPA: Tyler Mahle (.332), Gilberto Celestino (.196), Gio Urshela (.096)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    When the Twins acquired Tyler Mahle at the deadline, they likely envisioned him in a situation like this: working as the stopper in a crucial game down the stretch. He did not disappoint. The freshly-minted Twin commanded the ball with precision, striking out six batters over six shutout innings, with a handful of baserunners scattered around. Unlike his outing against Toronto, when the Blue Jays jumped on him late, Mahle fought back against the third-time-through-the-order frenzy and walked off the mound with a spotless ERA. Sure, maybe throwing six scoreless innings against an Angels lineup missing the golden boy isn’t as impressive as when John F. Kennedy negotiated the Russians out of world destruction, but it does have to count for something. 
    There are few guarantees in baseball; the sport thrives on chaotic, slimly un-random outcomes that provide the game intrigue—in what other sporting event can Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit three homers in a game? But there are some laws. Patrick Sandoval does not give up homers, and Gilberto Celestino does not hit them. Sandoval—the one of the lesser panda variety—had allowed just four balls to leave the park in 95 innings this season. Celestino—rumored to be incapable of pulling the ball with any authority—has yet to hit one this season. The outfielder owns two career homers—this author observed one in person—but power is not his forte. It is an impossibility that Celestino could hit a home run off Sandoval.
    Anyways, the scoring started when Celestino hit a homer off Sandoval.
    The game trudged on; the Twins occasionally threatened to score more, placing runners in ideal positions before failing to knock them in. A guy would walk; another one would leave him stranded on the bases, and the cycle repeated with dull consistency as the offense sputtered and whined. Sandy León found an occupied glove when steaming home. Gio Urshela broke through the stalemate with a solo homer in the 6th inning. 
    Urshela’s bat proved to be sorely needed, as his hits directly led to three of the Twins’ runs on Friday. It wasn’t the only active run engine, however; Jose Miranda doubled to right-center field in the 8th inning and trotted home after Luis Arraez poked a single beyond Jared Walsh’s grasp. 
    The new Twins bullpen triumvirate demonstrated their power; Michael Fulmer pitched a clean, scoreless 7th inning, carrying the shutout for at least one more frame. Jhoan Duran—still as hilariously dominant as always—melted a few faces for a clean 8th inning, setting the stage for the grand finale: Jorge López. López allowed a hit but found the time to catch Jo Adell window-shopping; Walsh grounded out to end the game.
     
    What’s Next?
    The Twins will play the Angels in another late-night matchup; Dylan Bundy will face off against Reid Detmers.
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet


    View full article
  10. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from glunn in Twins 4, Angels 0: Tyler Mahle Suffocates L.A's Bats   
    Well, that was pleasant. 
     
    Box Score
    Tyler Mahle: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
    Home Runs: Gilberto Celestino (1), Gio Urshela (11)
    Top 3 WPA: Tyler Mahle (.332), Gilberto Celestino (.196), Gio Urshela (.096)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    When the Twins acquired Tyler Mahle at the deadline, they likely envisioned him in a situation like this: working as the stopper in a crucial game down the stretch. He did not disappoint. The freshly-minted Twin commanded the ball with precision, striking out six batters over six shutout innings, with a handful of baserunners scattered around. Unlike his outing against Toronto, when the Blue Jays jumped on him late, Mahle fought back against the third-time-through-the-order frenzy and walked off the mound with a spotless ERA. Sure, maybe throwing six scoreless innings against an Angels lineup missing the golden boy isn’t as impressive as when John F. Kennedy negotiated the Russians out of world destruction, but it does have to count for something. 
    There are few guarantees in baseball; the sport thrives on chaotic, slimly un-random outcomes that provide the game intrigue—in what other sporting event can Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit three homers in a game? But there are some laws. Patrick Sandoval does not give up homers, and Gilberto Celestino does not hit them. Sandoval—the one of the lesser panda variety—had allowed just four balls to leave the park in 95 innings this season. Celestino—rumored to be incapable of pulling the ball with any authority—has yet to hit one this season. The outfielder owns two career homers—this author observed one in person—but power is not his forte. It is an impossibility that Celestino could hit a home run off Sandoval.
    Anyways, the scoring started when Celestino hit a homer off Sandoval.
    The game trudged on; the Twins occasionally threatened to score more, placing runners in ideal positions before failing to knock them in. A guy would walk; another one would leave him stranded on the bases, and the cycle repeated with dull consistency as the offense sputtered and whined. Sandy León found an occupied glove when steaming home. Gio Urshela broke through the stalemate with a solo homer in the 6th inning. 
    Urshela’s bat proved to be sorely needed, as his hits directly led to three of the Twins’ runs on Friday. It wasn’t the only active run engine, however; Jose Miranda doubled to right-center field in the 8th inning and trotted home after Luis Arraez poked a single beyond Jared Walsh’s grasp. 
    The new Twins bullpen triumvirate demonstrated their power; Michael Fulmer pitched a clean, scoreless 7th inning, carrying the shutout for at least one more frame. Jhoan Duran—still as hilariously dominant as always—melted a few faces for a clean 8th inning, setting the stage for the grand finale: Jorge López. López allowed a hit but found the time to catch Jo Adell window-shopping; Walsh grounded out to end the game.
     
    What’s Next?
    The Twins will play the Angels in another late-night matchup; Dylan Bundy will face off against Reid Detmers.
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet


    View full article
  11. Like
    Matt Braun reacted to ashbury in Dodgers 10, Twins 3: Joe Ryan Bullied by L.A's. Bats   
    Matt Braun Stays Up So You Don't Have To ™
  12. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from glunn in Dodgers 10, Twins 3: Joe Ryan Bullied by L.A's. Bats   
    Why did you stay up to watch this?
    Alternate Intro: Congratulations on not staying up to watch this one, but check out what happened in the game anyway by clicking to read more. 
     
    Box Score
    Joe Ryan: 5 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
    Home Runs: Byron Buxton (27)
    Bottom 3 WPA: Joe Ryan (-.378), Max Kepler (-.050), Jose Miranda (-.049)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Individual games aren’t usually supposed to mirror the greater spiritual struggle between two teams, yet here we are. The Dodgers crushed the Twins on Wednesday, never allowing a moment of doubt regarding who the better team was.
    It started with Joe Ryan: the rookie righty repeated his past Southern California struggles, allowing an elite Dodgers lineup to ring extra-base hits across the outfield. Will Smith—allegedly going by W.D. Smith as he would rather others confuse him with a spray oil company than the actor—rifled an RBI double into right-center field to kick off the scoring. 
    Ryan’s life on the mound remained challenging; the technically worse “bottom-half” of the Dodgers lineup—which includes an All-Star and an MVP—knocked balls into the corner pocket in the 2nd inning, scoring a few more runs. Trea Turner, with some help from Gilberto Celestino not being Byron Buxton, blooped in a double to end the frame at four total runs for the Dodgers. Max Muncy homered in the 3rd. So it goes.
    The Twins were not completely helpless during this onslaught; Gio Urshela muscled a triple into left-center field, and Celestino pulled him home with one of the shorter hits allowed by the rules. 
    But they weren’t much better than overpowered; Julio Urías worked through early rust to command the ball incredibly in a dominating start. Urshela’s triple would be the only extra-base hit of the game off the Dodgers’ lefty; four lonely singles constituted the remaining Twins’ offense against him. While the Dodgers’ bats parried efficiently, the Twins found no such luck against Julio Urías for the entirety of his seven-inning start.
    The game slowly morphed into a countdown, with outs acting as a formality, not an accomplishment. Trevor Megill allowed two runs after the Twins attempted to extend him for a second inning; Emilio Pagán netted two outs to end that inning.
    Buxton provided a jolt—a small one, yes, but one nonetheless. With a man on in the 8th inning, Buxton scraped a low slider off the bottom of the strike zone and deposited it just far enough beyond home plate to count for two runs. The game was still 8-3. A fan ran onto the field.
    Even the joy from that play did not last long; the Dodgers immediately struck for two runs, hitting the double-digit threshold while claiming a seven-run lead.
    What’s Next?
    The Twins and Dodgers will play again on Wednesday at 9:10 PM Central. Sonny Gray will take the mound for Minnesota while Ryan Pepiot will (probably) start for Los Angeles.
    Postgame Interview 
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
     
      FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT               Pagan 0 0 19 0 32 51 Sands 0 0 51 0 0 51 Megill 0 12 0 0 35 47 López 30 17 0 0 0 47 Thielbar 13 0 21 0 0 34 Fulmer 15 13 0 0 0 28 Duran 17 7 0 0 0 24 Jax 11 11 0 0 0 22  
     

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  13. Like
    Matt Braun reacted to Brock Beauchamp in Twins Acquire Orioles Closer Jorge Lopez   
    It's quite a haul for Lopez but probably worth the price of admission. It seems that every time I check into this deal, another player coming from the Twins has been added.
  14. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from ashbury in Minor League Report (7/23): Sanó Proves Health, Going 3-3 with a Homer   
    All Star break rust isn't just for players, apparently 
  15. Like
    Matt Braun reacted to ashbury in This Trade Deadline Will Not Be a Simple Endeavor   
    Can
    Anybody find me
    Somebody to close?
  16. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from glunn in Twins 1, Orioles 3: Walk-Off Magic Runs Out in Minnesota   
    Wait, they didn't come back?
     
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Devin Smeltzer: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
    Home Runs: None
    Bottom 3 WPA: Max Kepler (.138), Carlos Correa (.132), Jose Miranda (.109)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Devin Smeltzer, already established as the rotation’s savior, faced off against an ex-Twins farmhand, Tyler Wells. Smeltzer had just set a season-high in strikeouts (10) in his previous start; Wells looked to continue his effectiveness in the Orioles’ starting rotation.
    The game began sleepily and lazily; neither team scored until the 5th inning, and both the Twins and the Orioles committed a careless error in the 1st frame. Gilberto Celestino was the culprit for Minnesota; Rougned Odor was the one for Baltimore. The mistakes did not lead to runs.
    The Orioles struck in the 4th inning; Anthony Santander hit a Texas Leaguer over Alex Kirilloff’s head and reached 2nd base after Smeltzer uncharacteristically spiked a wild pitch into the dirt. Tyler Nevin—the son of former Twin and current red-ass Phil Nevin—smoked a single up the middle, forcing Santander to try his luck with Celestino’s arm from center field. In a close battle, Celestino’s throw beat Santander to the plate, and Gary Sánchez slapped the runner to secure the out and energize the crowd.
    But the Twins offense remained in a coma; Wells, typically not a strike-out pitcher, overwhelmed Minnesota’s bats with his rising fastball and darting slider. Hitters of all variety failed to fight back; the team’s array of lefties netted just one extra-base hit (a Nick Gordon double in the 6th inning), while many walked away with an extra strikeout or two on their ledger. Even Luis Arraez punched out. Something was not right.
    Fortune turned quickly in the middle innings. Odor smoked a solo homer to right field to net the first run of the ball game; Trey Mancini and Ryan Mountcastle blasted off consecutively in the next frame. Suddenly, after Smeltzer appeared well in command of the game, the score ballooned to 3-0.
    After innings of nothingness, the Twins revved up their engines in the 6th, trampolining off a Celestino lead-off walk to plate a run. There was a slight feeling of disappointment amid the success; Carlos Correa grounded into a double-play following an Arraez single, eliminating a base-runner before Jorge Polanco singled home Celestino.
    Juan Minaya did his best to keep the Twins in the game; the often yo-yo-ed righty posted two scoreless innings with three strikeouts and one hit allowed. On a team looking for relief help, such outings will help Minaya make a case for acquiring crucial innings down the stretch.
    The Twins could not find success even after Wells exited the game. A series of Baltimore relievers—Keegan Akin, Joey Krehbiel, and Dillon Tate—continued Wells’ dominance and shutout Minnesota’s offense in the final three frames.
    What’s Next?
    The Twins will travel to Chicago and take on the White Sox for the first a few series in July; Dylan Bundy will take the mound for Minnesota, while Johnny Cueto (yes, he’s still around) will toe the rubber for Chicago.
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet


    View full article
  17. Like
    Matt Braun reacted to RJA in Minor League Report (7/2): Jake Cave Continues His On-Base Streak While a DSL Pitcher Impresses   
    Thanks for the summary, Matt. That is the best showing by Lares this year. He’s small—6ft and 150 pounds—but is still young.  Pretty impressive to strike 17 plus per nine. I hope Cave can get an opportunity with some team this year. He is playing his heart out. 
  18. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from glunn in Twins 1, Guardians 0: Devin Smeltzer Throws 6 Shutout Innings and the Bullpen Holds on   
    You all thought there were going to lose, didn't you?
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Devin Smeltzer 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
    Home Runs: Nick Gordon (2)
    Top 3 WPA: Devin Smeltzer (.359), Jhoan Duran (.188), Joe Smith (.094)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Devin Smeltzer faced off against seatbelt-enthusiast Zach Plesac in the final game of the series against the Cleveland Guardians. It was a beautiful day game; people around the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX, while Twins fans looked to celebrate a victory after pulling defeat from the jaws of victory on Monday and Tuesday.
     
     
    The first few innings breezed by before Nick Gordon blasted a hanging curveball deep into center field for his second homer of the season. 
    The opportunity for Gordon to play centerfield and start in the lineup existed in the vacuum left by Byron Buxton’s mysterious, nagging injury. The team’s caution is Gordon’s advantage; the extra playing time has allowed him and Gilberto Celestino to flex their usefulness until Buxton returns. 
    Smeltzer was the story on Thursday. The often-leaned on lefty came up clutch again, firing off 6 shutout innings with three strikeouts to stymy Cleveland’s bats. The Guardians were confounded all day, sending balls directly toward defenders without recourse; their BABIP against Smeltzer was a paltry .167. No one knows how he continues to do this, but few will dare be anything but grateful for the boost Smeltzer has given to the starting rotation in the absence of multiple starters.
    But this is a Twins game in 2022, and we know better than to get our hopes up after a great start; the bullpen must do their job, after all. Joe Smith started the 7th inning, and while he loaded the bases before netting out, he somehow wriggled out of the situation, and the team walked away unscathed. 
    Jhoan Duran had the 8th inning and was considerably less noisy in his work. He “hit” Amed Rosario in the hand with a fastball—Rosario’s hands would no longer exist if that were true—but had an otherwise clean inning. 
    Duran then entered the 9th inning, looking to end the game possibly. He obliterated Franmil Reyes before Rocco Baldelli halted the game and began a slow walk to the mound. It’s unclear what Baldelli said—us mere regulars don’t earn the privilege of knowing—but Caleb Thielbar then came bounding out of the bullpen to the sounds of exhausted boos anticipating the future.
    Andrés Giménez plopped a double into left field, of course, before Ernie Clement dribbled a ball 50 feet; Thielbar threw him out at 1st. Steven Kwan, the nuisance of the series, stepped up to the plate to pinch-hit. Thielbar peppered him with fastballs around the perimeter, daring the rookie to trust his strike zone instincts before blowing a fastball by him for strike three.
    After two barn-burners, Thursday's game was a tame palate cleanser. Both teams collected just five hits⁠—Carlos Correa had three of them for the Twins⁠—and pitchers issued just three walks on the day. If there was ever a dictionary definition of a getaway day-game, this would be it. Outside of Gordon's homer, the only extra-base hit for the Twins belonged to Gio Urshela, who earned credit for a "double" that Reyes brutally fumbled. Apparently the official scorer felt lenient on Thursday.
    What’s Next?
    The Twins will remain in Minnesota and host the Colorado Rockies on Friday, the first time Colorado has played at Target Field since 2017. Dylan Bundy is set to face off against Germán Márquez.
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

     

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  19. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Vanimal46 in Twins 1, Guardians 0: Devin Smeltzer Throws 6 Shutout Innings and the Bullpen Holds on   
    You all thought there were going to lose, didn't you?
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Devin Smeltzer 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
    Home Runs: Nick Gordon (2)
    Top 3 WPA: Devin Smeltzer (.359), Jhoan Duran (.188), Joe Smith (.094)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Devin Smeltzer faced off against seatbelt-enthusiast Zach Plesac in the final game of the series against the Cleveland Guardians. It was a beautiful day game; people around the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX, while Twins fans looked to celebrate a victory after pulling defeat from the jaws of victory on Monday and Tuesday.
     
     
    The first few innings breezed by before Nick Gordon blasted a hanging curveball deep into center field for his second homer of the season. 
    The opportunity for Gordon to play centerfield and start in the lineup existed in the vacuum left by Byron Buxton’s mysterious, nagging injury. The team’s caution is Gordon’s advantage; the extra playing time has allowed him and Gilberto Celestino to flex their usefulness until Buxton returns. 
    Smeltzer was the story on Thursday. The often-leaned on lefty came up clutch again, firing off 6 shutout innings with three strikeouts to stymy Cleveland’s bats. The Guardians were confounded all day, sending balls directly toward defenders without recourse; their BABIP against Smeltzer was a paltry .167. No one knows how he continues to do this, but few will dare be anything but grateful for the boost Smeltzer has given to the starting rotation in the absence of multiple starters.
    But this is a Twins game in 2022, and we know better than to get our hopes up after a great start; the bullpen must do their job, after all. Joe Smith started the 7th inning, and while he loaded the bases before netting out, he somehow wriggled out of the situation, and the team walked away unscathed. 
    Jhoan Duran had the 8th inning and was considerably less noisy in his work. He “hit” Amed Rosario in the hand with a fastball—Rosario’s hands would no longer exist if that were true—but had an otherwise clean inning. 
    Duran then entered the 9th inning, looking to end the game possibly. He obliterated Franmil Reyes before Rocco Baldelli halted the game and began a slow walk to the mound. It’s unclear what Baldelli said—us mere regulars don’t earn the privilege of knowing—but Caleb Thielbar then came bounding out of the bullpen to the sounds of exhausted boos anticipating the future.
    Andrés Giménez plopped a double into left field, of course, before Ernie Clement dribbled a ball 50 feet; Thielbar threw him out at 1st. Steven Kwan, the nuisance of the series, stepped up to the plate to pinch-hit. Thielbar peppered him with fastballs around the perimeter, daring the rookie to trust his strike zone instincts before blowing a fastball by him for strike three.
    After two barn-burners, Thursday's game was a tame palate cleanser. Both teams collected just five hits⁠—Carlos Correa had three of them for the Twins⁠—and pitchers issued just three walks on the day. If there was ever a dictionary definition of a getaway day-game, this would be it. Outside of Gordon's homer, the only extra-base hit for the Twins belonged to Gio Urshela, who earned credit for a "double" that Reyes brutally fumbled. Apparently the official scorer felt lenient on Thursday.
    What’s Next?
    The Twins will remain in Minnesota and host the Colorado Rockies on Friday, the first time Colorado has played at Target Field since 2017. Dylan Bundy is set to face off against Germán Márquez.
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

     

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  20. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from wabene in Ryan Jeffers is Secretly Turning a Corner   
    Ryan Jeffers has become something of a punching bag amongst Twins fans. In a lineup full of boppers, his numbers stand out like a child’s doodle placed next to the Mona Lisa. His lack of production led Aaron Gleeman to write about his “frustrating” offensive development, and some have speculated whether a demotion to AAA would aid Jeffers in finding his groove again. I think this consternation is misplaced, and some under-the-hood stats reveal a hitter performing better than his results indicate.
     
     My colleague Nick Nelson recently wrote an article about Ryan Jeffers, outwardly wondering if the team mistakenly bestowed principal catching duties onto the former UNC Wilmington standout. While he never explicitly says it, and I would never want to speak for someone else, I walked away from the piece believing that he thinks that the Twins should not assume Jeffers to be a consistent, everyday starter for them unless he undergoes a serious evolution.
    Without a doubt, Jeffers’ initial hitting numbers are dreadful, mimicking Tim Laudnerian batting prowess instead of the league-average flirtation we expected from him. His career .202/.280/.378 slash line is dragged down by an even poorer .181/.271/.312 2022 season so far. The Manfred Mushball can’t explain that away. Jeffers’s initial 2020 offensive promise seems to be a mirage; he has failed to sniff even league-average production since that year. 
    However, there are under-the-hood stats that tell a different story. Dan Syzmborski’s recent Fangraphs article detailing under and over-performers based on his secret “z” stats caught my eye. Scrolling down a little to his “zSLUG Underachievers” list will procure a list of names, including our subject for today: Ryan Jeffers. ZIPS believes that Jeffers should be slugging .441—a number in the ballpark of Matt Olson's (.440) and Freddie Freeman's (.441) production levels, not the Adam Frazier (.309) plateau he currently sits at. Syzmborski’s projection system is his creation, so how it reaches that conclusion is hidden from us regulars, but it’s a good sign nonetheless. 
    There are other numbers as well. His Baseball Savant page doesn’t reflect un-impeachable elite performance like one sees from an Aaron Judge or a Mike Trout, but it does tell a tale of an unlucky slugger. Jeffers’ xwOBA is .339—right above league average for all hitters. Digging deeper, his barrel rate of 9.0%—a stat that indicates specific instances of a player hitting the crap out of the ball—puts him in elite territory; 26th amongst all qualified batters in MLB. Barrels aren’t an end-all stat—a player like Luis Arraez can be great because of other characteristics—but it is indicative of extra-base damage, and Jeffers’ current production does not reflect how much impact his bat has.
    There are other, more subtle numbers as well. Jeffers has tightened his command of the strike zone; his O-Swing % is down to 28.5, while his overall swinging strike rate has plummeted to 9.6%. Believe it or not, he swings at pitches outside the zone at the same rate as Luis Arraez (28.5%), and he whiffs at about the same rate as Paul Goldschmidt (9.5%). His total contact has also vastly improved (72.0% career vs. 78.5% in 2022, around Francisco Lindor territory (78.7%)). Those discipline numbers aren’t elite by any means, but they are average if not above-average in some cases, and average production would be a tremendous improvement for Jeffers.
    Jeffers’ walk rate reflects these changes (10.9%, up from 8.6%), while his strikeouts have dipped slightly, but probably less than one would expect (30.1%, down from 34.1%). I believe those punchouts will drop even further, given his improved plate control.
    Ryan Jeffers hits the ball hard at an elite level, has improved his plate discipline numbers across the board, and has worse surface-level hitting stats than before. That should change soon. The often-maligned 25-year-old has a good process in place; he has not found the final crucial step in unlocking his potential: luck. Once fortune turns in his direction, Jeffers will find himself as one of the better catchers in the game.
     

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  21. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from nclahammer in Minor League Report (6/17): Cedar Rapids Throws A Shutout, Wichita *is* Shutout   
    The Kernels pitched a shutout on Friday, while the Wind Surge were shutout, and the Saints blasted four homers. Read all about that and more in this edition of the minor league report.
    TRANSACTIONS
    C Kyle Schmidt transferred to AA Wichita
    C Frank Nigro transferred to A+ Cedar Rapids
    OF Alex Kirilloff recalled by Twins
    INF Elliot Soto outrighted to AAA St. Paul
    C David Bañuelos placed on 7-day IL (Dislocated right finger)
    C Roy Morales reinstated from 7-day IL (Back spasms)
    RHP Daniel Gossett transferred to AA Wichita
    Saints Sentinel
    St. Paul 6, Columbus 5
    Box Score
    Ariel Jurado: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K
    HR: John Andreoli (4), Mark Contreras (7), Curtis Terry (6), Michael Helman (2)
    Multi-hit games: Michael Helman (3-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), Curtis Terry (2-for-4, HR, R, RBI)
    St. Paul won a stressful game on Friday.
    The Saints took a democratic approach to hitting; every batter reached base at least once, and their four homers all came from a different source. John Andreoli hit the first bomb, while Mark Contreras followed suit with a two-run shot. Both home runs came in the 3rd inning.
    The Clippers did respond, though. The double Wills of Brenson and Brennan (sounds like a law firm) brought home enough runs to tie the game at three; Curtis Terry broke that tie with a solo home run in the 4th.
    The game entered a pure Cold War stalemate for a handful of innings before Michael Helman Tore Down That Wall with a crucial two-run homer in the top of the 9th inning. Columbus punched through Dereck Rodriguez’s Star Wars defense in the bottom of the inning, but the Saints held strong and walked away victorious. 
    Rodriguez netted the final 15 outs in the game, allowing just two runs in support of Jurado and Hunter Wood. 
    Wind Surge Wisdom
    Wichita 0, Tulsa 5
    Box Score
    Blayne Enlow: 3 2/3 IP, H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
    HR: None
    Multi-hit games: None
    Wichita was shut out on Friday.
    The famous Dodgers minor league system quieted the Wind Surge bats, striking out 15 with an assortment of arms that would make any team jealous. Tulsa pitchers have given the Wind Surge fits since their inception, and this series has been no different. Bobby Miller did it the other day; Clayton Beeter did it on Friday.
    Austin Martin was not in the lineup, and perhaps Wichita lost important vibes because of it. 
    Blayne Enlow continued his attempt at finding his footing again after losing crucial development time to injury. He was admirable, working 3 2/3 innings with two earned runs and four strikeouts for good measure. It’s clear that his command isn’t crisp like he would hope, but this is one step in a marathon for him.
    Alex Scherff was the only pitcher to walk away with an unharmed ERA on Friday, as he allowed no runs in his one inning of work.
    Matt Wallner hit lead-off, which reminded this author of the time Logan Morrison did the same; what a time that was, huh? 
    Kernels Nuggets
    Cedar Rapids 3, Dayton 0
    Box Score
    Aaron Rozek: 5 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
    HR: None
    Multi-hit games: None
    The Kernels won a shutout on Friday.
    Aaron Rozek was the man of the hour. The lefty held the Dragons to five baserunners over 5 2/3 IP with four strikeouts and, of course, no earned runs. The Dragons are no push-over, as they came into the game with a 38-21 record on the year.
    Cody Laweryson and Bradley Hanner slammed the door shut, netting the final 10 outs with a single hit allowed and six strikeouts. All three pitchers deserved a nice night out to celebrate their success on Friday; shutouts don't happen every day, after all.
    The Kernels’ bats did their job as well. They only needed one run, but they plated three off of a fielding error, a ground-rule double, and a wild pitch. In a form so ironic that Alanis Morissette would appreciate it, neither team allowed an earned run on Friday. This author cannot recall the last time they saw that occur in a baseball game. 
    Despite the lack of runs, Cedar Rapids hitters took seven walks on top of their six hits; luck was their enemy in this game. 
    Mussel Matters
    Fort Myers 8, Bradenton 3
    Box Score
    Pierson Ohl: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, BB, 5 K
    HR: Rubel Cespedes (1), Carlos Aguiar (2)
    Multi-hit games: Mikey Perez (2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI), Kala’i Rosario (3-for-4, R), Luis Baez (2-for-4, RBI)
    Fort Myers cruised on Friday.
    The Mighty Mussels jumped out early in the 2nd inning thanks to the “ez” brothers—Mikey Perez doubled home a run, and Luis Baez singled home another. Those two represented an effective back-end of the lineup for Fort Myers on Friday; three of the bottom four hitters netted multiple hits. 
    Bradenton ambushed Pierson Ohl in the 3rd, plating three runs off some piranha-like magic, including an RBI groundout and a two-run single. The 3rd inning proved to be the only one Ohl was not dominant in, and he settled in outside of that inning to not allow a run the rest of the way.
    While Ohl did his job, Malik Barrington and Juan Mendez ensured that the Marauders had no shot to return in the game. The two relievers combined for four effective innings with one hit allowed and an impressive eight strikeouts. Fort Myers pitchers struck out 13 hitters in total.
    The Mighty Mussels embodied the Earl Weaver approach to baseball and blasted a pair of three-run homers to bury Bradenton. Rubel Cespedes hit the first one, while Carlos Aguiar blasted one in the 8th inning for good measure. 
    Complex Chronicles
    FCL Twins 2, FCL Red Sox 4
    Box Score
    Brayan Medina: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
    HR: None
    Multi-hit games: Alexander Pena (2-for-4, 2 RBI)
    The FCL Twins took a loss six days in the making.
    The FCL Twins and FCL Red Sox were supposed to play on June 11th, but rain washed away any hope of playing that game beyond the 1st inning.
    Rehabbing starter and forgotten piece from the Lance Lynn trade, Luis Rijo, picked up where Bryana Medina left off, tossing two scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts. Former big-leaguer Daniel Robertson was also on a rehab assignment; he picked up a pair of walks.
    Alexander Pena provided all the runs for the FCL Twins, with his 1st inning single bringing home two baserunners.
    The two teams were supposed to play a second game, but it was canceled due to COVID.
    Dominican Dailies
    DSL Twins 2, DSL Giants Black 6
    Box Score
    Oscar Paredes: ⅔ IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, K
    HR: Jose Rodriguez (2)
    Multi-hit games: None
    Jose Rodriguez provided all the offense for the DSL Twins with a 4th inning solo homer and an RBI groundout in the 6th. Cristian Jimenez struck out five over three innings of work.
    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Aaron Rozek, Cedar Rapids Kernels
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Michael Helman, St. Paul Saints
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed:
    #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - In Progress.
    #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-5, K
    #9 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, R, 2 BB
    #14 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 3 ⅔ IP, H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
    #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-2, BB, K
    #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-3, BB, 2 K
    #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-2, 2 BB, K
    SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    St. Paul @ Columbus (4:05 PM) - RHP Jake Faria
    Wichita @ Tulsa (7:05 PM) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long
    Dayton @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM) - LHP Cade Povich
    Bradenton @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM) - RHP Marco Raya
     

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  22. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from glunn in Can Nick Gordon Carve Out a Niche Role on the Twins?   
    Nick Gordon’s baseball career has been an odyssey. The former 2014 first-round pick immediately established residence on top 100 prospect lists across the baseball spectrum, wowing evaluators with an effective combination of speed, batting average, and a potential future at shortstop. His story since includes pitfalls and more challenging experiences than first expected, but he is now finding an effective and valuable role for the Twins.
     
    Consider this author among those once skeptical of Gordon’s MLB potential. The son of longtime MLB pitcher Tom Gordon fell flat on his face at AAA in 2018 and only rebounded to respectable, not elite, numbers in 2019. His bat’s potential was less dynamic, his ability to play shortstop was in the “capable of standing in the infield” camp of defensive quality, and the MLB meta grew detached from speed as a desirable trait. Perhaps some role as a utility player—the cursed designation for every fringe player—could fit Gordon’s general skillset, but he would never become a “set it and forget it” type of starter like Jorge Polanco or Max Kepler; he had to fight for a role.
    There are a few ways for an outside player to force a team’s hand; you either hit so well that a team has no choice but to find a position for you, or you scrap around and man numerous positions at an above-average level, allowing a team to use you as a stopgap player. Gordon fits in the latter category.
    His bat isn’t otherworldly, but he does provide value with it in atypical ways. You probably take one look at Gordon—a 160-pound human according to Baseball-Reference—and assume that he’s the type to dink, dunk, and slash his way to doing damage at the plate. However, Gordon is something of a Statcast hero, owning a max exit velocity of 110.7 MPH in 2022, a number ahead of players like Luke Voit, Nick Castellanos, and Tyler O’Neill. Hitting the ball hard is far from the only way a hitter can do damage, but it does represent extra-base upside, and Gordon (perhaps surprisingly) possesses that kind of potential.  xwOBA likes him as well, as Gordon currently sits a few points above the league average in that stat (.333 to .329). 
    How he reaches these concluding stats is the more exciting part. Gordon isn’t one to walk, and he has more swing-and-miss in his game than one would expect, but his contact is strong enough to offset his negative attributes; he owns a .429 xwOBACON in 2022. That’s xwOBA but only including balls in play. Do you want to know how good a .429 xwOBACON is? Josh Donaldson, Mookie Betts, and Paul Goldschmidt all have a lower number in that stat. When Gordon puts the ball in play, good things happen.
    What has given Gordon the most value, though, is his newfound ability to play multiple positions. Various afflictions have required him to play left field, center field, shortstop, second base, and the guy even pitched once; talk about utility. He does more than just moonlight at these positions; Statcast credits him with an OAA in both left and center in 2022, as his reaction and burst make up for amateur routes. Considering that most of his minor league innings occurred at shortstop, his early success in the outfield is awe-inspiring; he played just 27 2/3 innings there in the minors. 
    Gordon should continue to be considered solely a “break glass in case of emergency” shortstop, and he’ll probably only rarely play at 2nd base given the glut of talent the team already has there, but his defensive acumen should demand a more active team role than one of a player like Jake Cave. If playing time only exists in the outfield, he’s more than capable of making that work.
    If baseball has an equivalent to the 6th man in basketball, Nick Gordon fits that role perfectly. He’s good at many things but not undeniably elite in any aspect of the game; Gordon instead takes a “jack of all trades” approach, one that stats can only partially quantify. This is also conjecture, but Gordon seems like an excellent clubhouse presence as well, and he can claim a stake in building the culture that many players have raved about this season. The 26-year-old may not be the star we once anticipated, but he’s a useful player on a winning team, and that counts for something.
     
     

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  23. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Hosken Bombo Disco in Can Nick Gordon Carve Out a Niche Role on the Twins?   
    Nick Gordon’s baseball career has been an odyssey. The former 2014 first-round pick immediately established residence on top 100 prospect lists across the baseball spectrum, wowing evaluators with an effective combination of speed, batting average, and a potential future at shortstop. His story since includes pitfalls and more challenging experiences than first expected, but he is now finding an effective and valuable role for the Twins.
     
    Consider this author among those once skeptical of Gordon’s MLB potential. The son of longtime MLB pitcher Tom Gordon fell flat on his face at AAA in 2018 and only rebounded to respectable, not elite, numbers in 2019. His bat’s potential was less dynamic, his ability to play shortstop was in the “capable of standing in the infield” camp of defensive quality, and the MLB meta grew detached from speed as a desirable trait. Perhaps some role as a utility player—the cursed designation for every fringe player—could fit Gordon’s general skillset, but he would never become a “set it and forget it” type of starter like Jorge Polanco or Max Kepler; he had to fight for a role.
    There are a few ways for an outside player to force a team’s hand; you either hit so well that a team has no choice but to find a position for you, or you scrap around and man numerous positions at an above-average level, allowing a team to use you as a stopgap player. Gordon fits in the latter category.
    His bat isn’t otherworldly, but he does provide value with it in atypical ways. You probably take one look at Gordon—a 160-pound human according to Baseball-Reference—and assume that he’s the type to dink, dunk, and slash his way to doing damage at the plate. However, Gordon is something of a Statcast hero, owning a max exit velocity of 110.7 MPH in 2022, a number ahead of players like Luke Voit, Nick Castellanos, and Tyler O’Neill. Hitting the ball hard is far from the only way a hitter can do damage, but it does represent extra-base upside, and Gordon (perhaps surprisingly) possesses that kind of potential.  xwOBA likes him as well, as Gordon currently sits a few points above the league average in that stat (.333 to .329). 
    How he reaches these concluding stats is the more exciting part. Gordon isn’t one to walk, and he has more swing-and-miss in his game than one would expect, but his contact is strong enough to offset his negative attributes; he owns a .429 xwOBACON in 2022. That’s xwOBA but only including balls in play. Do you want to know how good a .429 xwOBACON is? Josh Donaldson, Mookie Betts, and Paul Goldschmidt all have a lower number in that stat. When Gordon puts the ball in play, good things happen.
    What has given Gordon the most value, though, is his newfound ability to play multiple positions. Various afflictions have required him to play left field, center field, shortstop, second base, and the guy even pitched once; talk about utility. He does more than just moonlight at these positions; Statcast credits him with an OAA in both left and center in 2022, as his reaction and burst make up for amateur routes. Considering that most of his minor league innings occurred at shortstop, his early success in the outfield is awe-inspiring; he played just 27 2/3 innings there in the minors. 
    Gordon should continue to be considered solely a “break glass in case of emergency” shortstop, and he’ll probably only rarely play at 2nd base given the glut of talent the team already has there, but his defensive acumen should demand a more active team role than one of a player like Jake Cave. If playing time only exists in the outfield, he’s more than capable of making that work.
    If baseball has an equivalent to the 6th man in basketball, Nick Gordon fits that role perfectly. He’s good at many things but not undeniably elite in any aspect of the game; Gordon instead takes a “jack of all trades” approach, one that stats can only partially quantify. This is also conjecture, but Gordon seems like an excellent clubhouse presence as well, and he can claim a stake in building the culture that many players have raved about this season. The 26-year-old may not be the star we once anticipated, but he’s a useful player on a winning team, and that counts for something.
     
     

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  24. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from glunn in Yankees 10, Twins 7: You're Never Gonna Guess What Happened   
    No one predicted this would occur, yet everyone saw it coming.
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 4 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, BB, K
    Home Runs: Luis Arraez (2), Byron Buxton 2 (14, 15), Carlos Correa (4), Trevor Larnach (5)
    Top 3 WPA: Byron Buxton (.337), Luiz Arraez (.094), Carlos Correa (.068)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Dylan Bundy matched up against Gerrit Cole in the series' rubber match. It looked like a classic David-vs-Goliath battle nestled within a broader clash in a similar vein; the Twins against the Yankees.
    Bundy coughed up a run in the 1st inning off some dinks and dunks, but the real story of the inning wouldn’t exist until the bottom half. Luis Arraez sent a ball over the wall for a solo homer, Byron Buxton followed suit, and Carlos Correa finally made it an improbable three-peat with a solo home run that made it a 3-1 game before Cole recorded a single out. For real, against Cole.
    But this was just the 1st inning—one against the Yankees no less; the game was far from over.
    Bundy nabbed two quick outs in the 2nd inning before Jose Trevino dumped a single into center, and muscly big man Joey Gallo provided the “blast” portion of “a bloop and a blast.” 1st inning fanfare could barely have time to recede before the game turned tied.
    Because this was a Yankees vs. Twins game, the craziness refused to exit the ballpark, and Buxton launched a three-run homer off Cole in the bottom of the 2nd to push the lead to 6-3. Again, against Gerrit Cole.
    The Yankees went quietly in the 3rd—perhaps saving their torrent for later—and Trevor Larnach tacked on a solo shot for the 5th Twins homer of the night. 
    There’s probably some German word out there for it—god knows how to spell or say it—but the feeling at this point became an uneasy comfort, one that acknowledges the incredible lead while still not believing for a second that it will hold. Sure, the Twins held a four-run lead after dumping all over one of the finest starting pitchers in the sport, but come on, we know how this story goes; we aren’t fools. 
    The Yankees moved in the 5th inning. Bundy gave up a massive homer to Joey Gallo, the second of the night for the former Ranger before Rocco Baldelli took the lonely trot to the mound and called upon Jharel Cotton in the hopes that he could provide some necessary relief. He did not. A tough missed strike three call necessitated an extra pitch, and D.J. Lemahieu cut the lead down to two with a solo bomb of his own.
    The Twins' offense was in scuffle mode. Yankees lefty Lucas Leutge pulled a Chad Green in 2017 (since when has it almost been five years since that game?) and held back the onslaught while New York’s bats chipped away as the outs melted away slower than the Twins would have liked. At this point, Twins fans anticipated the dreadful reality of this game's conclusion. The lead lasted one more full inning before, sigh, old friend Aaron Hicks knotted the game at 7 with a two-run homer. 
    It didn’t stop there—the Yankees jumped all over Jhoan Duran and plated two more runs thanks to an Anthony Rizzo single and a Hicks opposite-field knock. New York took just four innings to tie and eventually overtake Minnesota’s quick, fleeting lead.
    Slow, draining baseball followed until the game mercifully ended. Whatever reliever Aaron Boone chose didn’t matter; they all methodically shut down a Twins offense that crushed Gerrit Cole but could find no answers for Wandy Peralta. The team mustered up just one lonely hit once the struggling starter exited the game. So it goes.
    The Yankees plated another run—they didn’t matter at this point, but the spirit of competition and sportsmanship call for it—and Minnesota officially fell to New York by a score of 10-7.
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

     

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  25. Like
    Matt Braun reacted to zwiefz in One Former Twins Pitcher That Could Bolster Minnesota’s Rotation   
    Not interested at this point.  Before we write him in on Cy Young ballots, go back and look at 2019.  I am not a stat head, but when I read this article I seemed to remember similar thoughts(OMG, how did we land this guy so cheap???) early in the year before him ending up in the bullpen.
    A very brief look at his numbers showed that in his first 8 starts for the Twins(after getting inserted in rotation) he gave up 1.5 runs per game started through  May 30.  After May 30 he had 21 more appearances(some were bullpen I believe) and averaged 3.5 runs per start/appearance with some absolute clunkers in there.  So he has had 'hot' stretches early in the year before.
    If he is still doing this at the trade deadline, then maybe.  Way too early to see if he is an upgrade or a mirage. Besides, the entire rotation is such a shambles right now that not sure if even 1 great pitcher would make a difference over the long haul.
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